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Kristen Hutchins Design

I had a chat with interior designer Kristen Hutchins recently, she’s been on her own a little over two years but also spent two years working with Kelly Wearstler and another two years with Ruthie Sommers. Imagine working with Ruthie and Kelly! Kristen’s portfolio reflects that pulled-together California-chic aesthetic that we all know and like so much. Here are some of my favorites…

Kristen Hutchins Design

Kristen was born in Miami and grew up in Florida, then traveled to California when she was 18 to study Business and fell in love with the west coast lifestyle. While in college she had the honor of working in fashion at Barneys New York and the exposure to such inspiring designers and clothing helped surface her long time love of interior design.

Kristen Hutchins Design

Kristen Hutchins Design

After completing her Business degree, she decided to pursue a formal design education at UCLA and then went on to work with designer Ruthie Sommers and then, more recently, Kelly Wearstler where she worked as a senior designer. After a few years with Kelly she felt ready to go out on her own and launched Kristen Hutchins Design.

What a wonderful story of a strong, talented woman determined to pursue her passions with beautiful results!

(images: kristen hutchins design)

Posted in designers on December 25, 2009

Ryan Korban Interior Design

Ryan Korban is a twentysomething interior designer in New York who designs both residential and commercial spaces and who has recently been featured in a number of design blogs, including The Selby. It seems he has a knack for creating warmth with a touch of glam through layers, textures and deep, moody colors. Add to that a dash of shine through a lamp or two, a carefully placed teapot, a sculptural flower resting on a stack of books and a sexy side table with a horn base and you have Ryan’s signature look — nothing is overly styled or stuffy, things are somewhat sloppy in a very good way and his vibe is without fuss and quite cozy.

Ryan Korben

I’ll admit, I’m not a big leather sofa fan, nor do I care for faux fur rugs, horn tables or shiny ornate table lamps, but Ryan has a way of putting things together that I’m not naturally drawn that makes me pause and think, “Okay, maybe“. I think that this is a sign of a good designer that we often overlook and do not discuss to often on design blogs. We’re often so fixated on finding designers who share our aesthetic — but when you notice an eyebrow being raised as you stumble across work you’d not characterize as your sensibility then that’s something to pause and think about. Hmmm.

I compare this to a good makeup artist or hair stylist. Sometimes we get stuck on a look, some may even say in a rut. Fringe with blond highlights, blunt cut with caramel highlights, curly hair, straight hair, the “Jennifer” hair cut. Or how about makeup — smokey eyes for going out, a nude and pale palette with a touch of pink lip gloss by day. Let’s say your stylist thinks that with your coloring and personality, you should experiment a little and go with auburn highlights instead and lose the fringe because it does not complement your face shape. And the makeup artist suggests peacock green eyes for night with faux lashes and by day a bit more color – a soft gray eye with a just-bitten red matte lip. You may shrug, thinking it’s, “Oh no — not me” but perhaps you try this new look out and you can’t believe your eyes — stunning! Pros who work with color, proportion, texture, etc. all day tend to have a broader vision. They also deal with many personalities and income levels so they have a lot of experience that we sometimes forget to take into consideration.

Ryan Korben

And so I ask… shouldn’t anyone you hire in a creative field give you a bit of an Aha! moment and share something that you may NOT have considered before? That is a part of interior design that makes hiring the right one worth the investment. A fresh, new custom-tailored perspective can be quite an eye opener.

(images: top, ryan korban. bottom, the selby who profiled him here.)

Posted in Decorating Tips, designers on November 25, 2009

Kimberly Ayres Interior Design

I was catching up on some much-needed blog reading today and came across a post that my friend Anh-Minh Lee wrote just yesterday about California-based interior designer Kimberly Ayres. Not knowing who she was, I clicked on her link and found a most delicious portfolio that I thought I’d highlight for a little eye candy inspiration. Kimberly’s design style is classic meets bohemian with a feminine, elegance in her well-edited rooms. There’s nothing like drooling over the work of a talented interior designer to spark an idea or to light the fire under your butt to work on that idle project in your home, right!?

Kimberly Ayres Interior Design

Kimberly Ayres Interior Design

After reading her bio, I learned that she didn’t start out as a designer — she actually practiced law before tapping into her creative side. Leaving her profession behind, she went to school to study painting, antiques and interior architecture. The more I looked at her work I realized that her name rang a bell for a reason…she was mentioned in Domino magazine as one of the Top Ten Young Designers to Watch in 2009. Do you remember that article?

Anyway… before launching her own practice, Kimberly worked for Kelly Wearstler and then, Michael Lee. In 2000, she launched her own practice and now, nearly 10 years later, she is a successful designer with not only her own practice but also owns a furnishings and accessories store in San Francisco called Kimberly Ayres Home.

And hello yellow! Don’t you love all of that warm goldenrod in her home shown in the photos above? That color is super fab, beautiful in the summer, gorgeous in the autumn… and truly a great hue for California living. I also adore {drool drool drool} that turquoise bedside lamp — so much! It’s very Domino-esque — something we we would have seen in Domino mag, are you with me on this? The nightstand is pretty too, looks a bit Asian but I cannot see the legs to truly tell. The fish cup/jug/creamer/vase/whatevertheheckitis is also great with those bold fuchsia blooms — it’s truly the ice breaker in that vignette, it keeps all those blue and yellow patterns looking perky and modern.  Don’t believe me? Place your index finger over the floral arrangement. See the difference in that photo now? The colors aren’t as snappy, are they? Almost a bit dizzying. That pink really creates healthy tension and I love it. And so if you ever look through magazines and don’t notice the flower arrangements at work already, start paying attention to them and how stylists use cut flowers to often add a lift. They’re the push up bra of decoration. :)

I say this a million times on decor8, but again… another example of a career changer who turned out to be a successful small business owner. So if you’re considering a career change, don’t lose sight of your dream! Imagine if Kimberly didn’t go for it?

(photos: Eric Cahan)

Posted in designers on November 03, 2009

Meet CG Creative Interiors

CG Creative Interiors is a full-service design firm based in Atlanta owned by the talented Caryn Grossman. I met Caryn recently on Facebook and after seeing images from her home, I decided to share it with you today thanks to Caryn who so nicely sent a slew of beautiful photos to me. Her home reminds me a movie set, it feels very southern and like the homes I visited growing up whenever we went on field trips to Charleston. Her home, a converted telephone factory with an original concrete floor, is very charming and glamorous unlike it’s roots, and there is genuine personality here. The texture and pastels mixed with jewel tones looks very pretty and in Caryn’s creative home, it all really, really works. I can see that she is very creative but also artistic, and her home seems to be an ever evolving series of art installations almost like a theater, gallery or retail space — I love that. And in a way, it almost does function this way as she frequently holds art events in her home. Nice!

CG Creative Interiors

In addition to seeing her space, I thought I’d ask her a few questions about her business and inspirations. Would you like to sit in on our chat?

Holly: Have you always been a designer? What got you interested in design as a profession?

Caryn: I’ve always been entrepreneurial, working for myself since I was in my 20s, but my first round of business was in marketing and communications. I would concept, write, and act as art director and creative director for all of my client’s campaigns. I specialized in architecture and design firms, and somewhere along the way it occurred to me that I was far more intrigued with what they did, than what I did. I took some additional courses in design, and loved it so much I asked the chair of the interiors department if I could join his program. That was more than 10 years ago, and I’ve never looked back!

Holly: Who are some great people who have influenced your work along the way?

Caryn: I’m inspired by just about everything visual, and love designers who take risks, who aren’t afraid — whether it be film, fashion, interiors… I am wholly inspired by Javier Mariscal’s animated brilliance, Nani Marquina’s whimsical designs, Philippe Starck’s often sarcastic style and Ingo Maurer who makes it all look like play. Closer to home, Clint Zeagler, inspires me in all forms fashion and style, while Christopher Moulder, a sculptor who plays with light, helps to ignite my own creativity.

CG Creative Interiors

Holly: What is your design philosophy?

Caryn: Awhile back, when I was first finding my own style, a friend gave me a book called ‘Breaking the Rules’, and I guess I have been, ever since. I believe that spaces are meant to come alive, to express, to evoke. They should have meaning, resonance, for all who pass through. Great spaces render emotion; they comfort, they enliven, they convey. I believe that good design is magic, that each space tells a story.

Holly: How would you describe your style?

Caryn: Each of my projects is decidedly different, yet each tells a story. I think that’s the common denominator, the story, rather than a particular look or style. For my own personal space, I’ve created what feels, to me, like a Paris apartment, full of salvage and vintage finds, set within the stark walls of an old industrial surround. I love the play of contrast, the opulence of silk taffeta drapes, pooled on a concrete floor. Prior to that I lived in an old bungalow, where the focus was on color, rhythm and flow. There’s a Japanese theory, Shakkei, where there are three views, the immediate, the one that’s beyond, then the one that’s beyond that. My little bungalow was all about those views, one room leading into another, and then the view beyond.

CG Creative Interiors

Holly: Do you gravitate towards a specific palette and if yes, what colors and why?

Caryn: My palette changes with each client, with the feelings we are trying to convey. For an ad agency, we chose a deep red and mustard, lively bold colors, while for a residence the palette was pale — blues and lavenders, very soothing, very relaxing.

Holly: If you could design a room for anyone, who would it be, which room and why this particular person?

Caryn: Goodness, that’s a hard one. I think it would be for a fashion designer, like Coco Chanel, her dressing room perhaps.

Holly: What things inspire you as a creator?

Caryn: Everything! I love fashion, tiny opulent touches, silhouettes and contrast. I love the way music can fill a space, the way a certain refrain ‘feels’ like a particular color or scene. I love when, even in discord, there is an absolute harmony. I’m also tremendously curious. I love the creative process, even more than the result.

CG Creative Interiors

Holly: Can you suggest some of your favorite design books that may inspire decor8 readers?

Caryn: Just about any book published by Phadion inspires me — I love the way they put the books together, the binding, the pace of the pages. Taschen is another great publisher. Books of botanicals, with arrangements of glorious colors and textures. As for titles, I can’t really say. It’s rare that it’s an interior design book that inspires me; rather its books on fashion, industrial design, graphic design.

Holly: And finally Caryn, what is your most cherished possession in your own home and why?

Caryn: Teacups passed from my greatgrandmother, to my mother, and then to me. Each one is different, like notes in a melody.

Thank you Caryn for connecting with me on Facebook, and for accepting this interview – it has been a pleasure to get to know you better.

Oh and readers…. I have to comment on this: don’t you LOVE the idea of having your home function as a space in which you hold events that are centered around art, design and good music? Oh yes, I love this idea. And I vow today that if I happen to find a larger flat here I will host some events and invite whoever will come because seriously, what a nice way to get to know others and share with them some of your favorite things!

(images: cg creative interiors)

Posted in designers, interviews on October 22, 2009


Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.


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